Declare Products That Aren’t Chairs!

July 14th, 2021

Dear Readers, 

This is just a quick blog on some exciting additions to the Living Building Challenge’s list of products with Declare labels. A “Declare label” put simply is essentially a ‘nutrition label’ that details what exactly goes into the making of a product, where it is made, and what to do with it at the end of its useful life. 

Originally, when William and I first officially decided to pursue full Living Building Challenge certification, their Declare page didn’t have too much going on. Mostly office chairs and carpet tiles, really. 

But now….there are products with Declare labels that we could actually use listed in their database! And not only could we use them, you probably could too! Which is so, so wonderful. If you would like to look at the current database on your own, you can go here: Declare – International Living Future Institute (living-future.org)

I, however, am only going to briefly mention to you a few of the particular products we find both exciting and applicable to our home’s design.

The first few I’ll mention are Owens Corning’s Foamglas Insulation and Verduren’s liquid linoleum floor. We are considering using these products for our foundation systems for our mulch basin and composting toilet tank enclosures.1 Both the Verduren flooring and the foamglas insulation are Red List free and have the potential to be recycled. The Verduren flooring is more recyclable than the insulation admittedly. But still. It’s cool. Just the fact that some manufacturers are willing to be open about what exactly goes into their products and where they are made is a step forward in a wide-spread recognition of both our footprints and handprints. Of course, additional independent research is always encouraged. 

The next batch of Declare products we are interested in are Henry Company’s Blueskin VP100 and Solitex Adhero’s 3000. We are considering using one of these as the vapor open, air and weather barrier for our walls and roof. Which one, not sure. Both seem awesome. They both obviously have Declare Labels, are Red List free, and would be self-adhering to the CLT. However, one is made in Germany…and the other…right here in Pennsylvania! 

The final quick product I want to throw at you is made right in Pittsburgh!! It is porcelain tile (specifically the “extruded series”) made by Limelight Tile and Ceramics. What I really love about the Declare labeling process, is the move toward transparency. You can see right on that page exactly what goes into making their tiles. That is not an easy thing to do…first, to truly know the holistic composition of what you are producing (I mean, the time it is taking for William and I to account for every product and material that is going into The Seed is absolutely mind-boggling…)…and second, to have the courage and morality to be open about what your product is composed of with so many internal and external pressures, is hard. 

But, again, going back to The Seed and our pipe-dream of prefabing affordable Passive House and LBC certified homes…if we want to sell prefabricated homes based off of The Seed, and if we want to raise our family, and other families to raise their families, in the homes we build…then taking responsibility for knowing is essential. Know what you make and how you make it and where all of its components come from. And then once you know, you can no longer morally hide behind a curtain of naivety. Speak up. Be open. Be honest. And if you know something could be better, then do it. Strive to be better. 

That is what I believe the purpose behind this whole  “Declare Label” thing is. Encouraging manufacturers to know. And then once they know, push them to be better while being honest and responsible for their ‘goods’ and their ‘bads.’  

Thanks for reading!

Shelby

An example of a Declare label for the porcelain tile Extruded Series by Limelight Tile and Ceramics.

1. There is a bit of thought going into this specific foundation system, and I am sure it will earn a blog of its own in the future. We intend for it to be a concrete-free slab-on-grade foundation inspired by a home built by Jake Bruton. But for now…go ahead and return to reading this short and sweet blog on some neat-o Declare products!

3 Comments

  1. Good job! now I need to spend my free time looking up all the stuff that is listed in the porcelain and glaze!!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks Aunt Rose! I know right?! It is like a never-ending rabbit hole!

      Reply
  2. Interesting. Good work!

    Reply

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